Having “leadership skills” instead of just being plain ol’ bossy has not always been my forte (read: I occasionally still step into bossy pants mode accidentally)”. Being bossy comes REALLY naturally to me. I am the oldest. The oldest sibling, the oldest cousin, even one of the oldest of all my extended cousins. I was born bossy. For some of us, taking charge or feeling like a leader comes more naturally.
“If we are Christians, we are called to lead others to Christ. So we are all leaders.”
Whether we FEEL like we have a knack for leadership is not the question. The question is: How can we best use our gifts to lead others to Christ, to make disciples of all. As a Christian, we are called to be leaders. Period. Taking the lead comes easily for me, but that doesn’t mean that I have always lead in the right direction, done it well, or don’t need to grow in my abilities.
I have heard it said that leaders are not born, they are made. I think it’s both. Some people are born with natural leadership ability and personality traits that make it easier for them to lead or draw people to themselves or their cause. Like those of us who were born bossy…
But I also think that leadership, which is ultimately influence, is something that can and should be cultivated in each of our lives.
Natural born leaders left unchecked or untrained often come across as bossy, and fail to achieve maximum Godly influence capacity.
As with any natural gift or ability, it is vital to develop your ability. So, whether you are a “natural born leader” or not, you have a responsibility to take inventory of your leadership skills and cultivate them to improve.
I remember one particular time, I didn’t have school and I went to daycare with my brother and cousins. I was probably all of 6 years old, but you bet your boots I was the oldest and therefore the coolest kid there. All the “little kids” just thought I hung the moon! Yes, I was bossy, but I also had influence because they all wanted to follow my lead. During playtime outside in Miss Linda’s awesome backyard, I would throw things (Frisbees, balls, sticks etc…) REALLY far (because I was a bad mamma jamma, remember?) and the “little kids” would ARGUE over who got to be my “go getter”. That’s right, folks, I was playing fetch with the little kids AND THEY LOVED IT.
Influence is not something that I have always used well.
Fast forward 20 or so years….
Some other youth leaders and I got to take our youth kids to a Bethel Worship “concert” in a town a couple hours away. Great music, great time worshiping, a fun time was had by all. Before we embarked on the trip home, of course we had to stop and fill our bellies at IHOP.
Sometime during the course of either ordering and/or paying, I told my girls, “If you have money to eat out, you have money to tip. You always, always, ALWAYS tip your waiters and you tip them well, 15-20% at least! If it’s a small bill, the time they spend serving you is worth at LEAST $5.00. They are making a living and feeding their families off of what they make in tips.” Spoken in true bossy pants fashion I am sure.
Not too long ago, one of my girls who was with us that night told me, “Faith, when I go out to eat I ALWAYS tip my waiter at least $5.00.”
Influence. It’s a powerful thing.
Influence is a privilege. It is an honor to speak into someone’s life and should not be taken lightly.
You can be appointed boss over someone, but we individually CHOSE who we allow to influence us. Whether it is a completely conscious choice or not, we determine if we want to emulate someone or follow their lead. Your position as boss may be appointed, but influence is earned. You and I have the choices of who and what we let influence our lives.
Ultimately, true and Godly influence happens because we saw someone living their life well and want to learn to echo their actions.
I want us to be conscious of how we are using and developing influence in other people’s lives. Influence is a privilege, not a right.
Thoughts to chew on:
Who HONESTLY has influence in different areas of your life?
Who do you look up to?
Who do you want to learn from?
Why do you want to learn from them?
*Part 2 will include lots of practical application tips for cultivating leadership abilities and influencing others for Christ.